The world is kinder than that: a Grimm tale

Figure 1. Grimm monument. Mt. Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, VA. Photo: author.

No need to think too hard about this one. See first the young age at which “my husband” S. Fred Grimm died: 28. His early death prompted the erection of this handsome, if olde schoole, monument by his grieving widow (figure 1). So much from the text.

Yet see that blank raised pad beneath the excerpt from Psalm 23. This is standard (though by no means universal) procedure for a widow or widower to leave space for their own name come the day the stone will record their death as well. A cutter comes to the cemetery and cuts away the pad to leave the raised letters of (in this case) the wife’s anagraphic data to match the dead husband’s above. And it makes sense: a young grieving widow wishing with fresh loss to connect herself eternally with her dead husband and prudently leaving space for it.

Yet as we know, the world is more often than not kinder than that. That blank pad on the stone almost certainly betokens her falling in love again and remarrying. In the event, she went into the ground in her final family’s grave, and S. Fred was left to moulder alone. But again, the world is kinder than that: he doesn’t care.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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